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Global English and the Predicament of Monolingual Multiculturalism

Global English and the Predicament of Monolingual Multiculturalism

Chapter:
(p.159) Chapter Five. Global English and the Predicament of Monolingual Multiculturalism
Source:
Bilingual Brokers
Author(s):
Jeehyun Lim
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823275304.003.0006

Chapter five examines the writings of Julia Alvarez and Ha Jin as examples of literary bilingual brokering in the age of global English. As writers of bi-national scope in their writings, Alvarez and Ha Jin explore a cultural politics of circulation to dislodge the assumption of an organic relationship between national language and literature. However, the coexistence of World Literature in English and US multicultural literature in these writers’ works places their representations of political oppression and human rights abuse abroad within the pedagogy of neoliberal multiculturalism at home that is geared toward an individualistic understanding of freedom and rights. Even as Alvarez and Ha Jin seek to claim belonging in the homeland of language outside the narrow confines of national literature, that choice itself is circumscribed by the cultural politics of writing in English at a time of global English hegemony.

Keywords:   Julia Alvarez, global English, Ha Jin, politics of circulation, translation

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